Thursday, March 10, 2016

This video is a lesson for educators, an important lesson!

16 year old builds tiny home to guarantee mortgage-free future 

OK, I have some questions. Not for this kid. NO, I have questions for my esteemed colleagues. I mean those high profile decision makers who I sat alongside as a member of the Cabinet of the Deputy Chancellor of Instruction, of the New York City Department of Ed. - the school system's highest level of authority. You know who you are! .. Top ranking educational experts... Earners of high salaries... Shapers of the destinies of 1,100,000 New York kids. Yes, I sat next to you and witnessed your unimaginative busy-ness for a few years as you perpetuated the status quo of education in the country's biggest school system and did it in the name of good administration and school reform.

Questions? Let's start with the most basic. Do you understand what Education is and what it's for? I doubt it, esteemed colleagues. Education has little to do with credits earned or test scores. It has little to do with diplomas or being ready for college (God, I cringe when you guys assert that the best indicator of the success of school is a student's ability to.... DO MORE SCHOOL!)  No, on any planet where sane, rational people focus on Education, it has much more to do with learning life skills, things that will serve as students transform into people, people involved in that thing we call LIFE. Education shouldn't be the absorbing of 'stuff', stuff that can be 'demonstrated' by students on standardized tests, artificial little events designed to see how well 'the monkey has been trained', things you guys referred to again and again as measures of "Accountability." Bottom line, Doctorate validated hacks, what of true worth did you push for having those kids learn?

And does it have to be that way? In this video we see a kid, who, as a student in a public high school, has taken on something of true worth. Can you imagine? He's not only learned about how to build a house, but in doing that... he's actually BUILT A HOUSE!. Is that relevant? Are you F-ing kidding? What could possibly be more relevant? No, colleagues, this isn't just some Vocational Ed. lesson.  This is reality, and it’s education that's prepared this kid to cope with it, to flourish in it. What's involved? Reading & Researching; Analyzing and Reflecting; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (lots of  these things); Planning, and Problem Solving; Applied Learning; and on and on... Real Education! Good Education! Assessment? Accountability? Impact? For Christ sake, this kid now has a place to live for years to come! He's prepared himself for adulthood and prepared himself to help others and contribute! How do you score that, hacks?

Why am I so angry? You know, when I’m faced with the evidence of what kids who pass through our schools can't do, I don't get so angry. No, I can't muster up much ire because kids in Finland run circles around ours in doing math exercises. But when I see what kids, CAN do, then I get angry! Why do we waste so much of their precious time making them chase after the foolishness that folks like my former colleagues label as Education?

This video is heartwarming. This is a fine young man who's been given a fine educational experience. He's done something relevant. Learned tons of important things. Been engaged up to his eyebrows, and not only is he the better for it, so are we all. Please don't bother yourself about the details.As a way to make education meaningful and valuable, this IS do-able and while not all kids can build their own house (or can they?) something on this order can be made to happen for them all. This video is a lesson for educators, an important lesson!

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